Designer Thomas Jayne uses antiques and heirlooms to add life to ...
Omaha World-Herald reported
Go ahead, use that sterling silver flatware tarnishing in a wooden box. Put up the bed that came from your grandparents' house. Get out the good china. Wind up that old Seth Thomas wall clock. Antiques and heirlooms can become overwhelming when you're settling a loved one's estate.
In most homes, space doesn't allow merging two households. It's just too much stuff. Interior designers instead recommend using a selection of important, sentimental family pieces in your decor rather than renting storage space or stacking them in the basement or attic.
That chair, vase or china hutch may not match everything around it, but it has a story and it's part of your history. New York interior designer Thomas Jayne, who has family ties to Iowa, believes homeowners can incorporate those antiques into even the most modern of designs.
Jayne is one of three featured presenters during the Lauritzen Gardens Antique and Garden Show Sept 20-23. The annual event features interior design experts giving programs on various antiques topics and antique dealers selling everything from art to old silver.
Jayne said he is interested in decorative arts from every period, especially traditional designs that work well with contemporary looks. “It's what I call ancient and modern,” Jayne said by phone from his office in New York City. “Without at least one thing that's old, an all-new room is soulless,” he said. “That's not to say that we should fill our homes with everything our ancestors left behind.” Instead, he suggests homeowners choose favorite pieces and use or display them.
In his own apartment, Jayne treasures an 1870s-era bed from his great-grandparents' farmhouse near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I like how it feels. It's ugly, a Rococo style with turned posts and carved headboard,” he said. “It's a double bed, smallish, and I'd used it all my life.” Growing up in Los Angeles, he stayed with his grandparents during his summer breaks. When Jayne inherited the bed, he knew he wanted to use it, so he refinished it. This goes contrary to the advice of professionals, who suggest leaving old pieces as you find them.
Old things generally look best when left alone, Jayne said. But furnishings that aren't rare, priceless antiques can be refurbished. It's not always easy to know where to draw the line. If it's a beautiful walnut cabinet, but not auction-house extraordinary, Jayne said he might keep it as original as possible, painting the inside but leaving the exterior finish, dings and all. “But I'm not big on giving blanket advice,” he said. “If changing the finish means you'll be incorporating it into your life, it might be worth it.
The whole thing is the narrative value. You can't get that at Target.” Incorporating an antique into a mostly contemporary decor, as Jayne did with his Rococo bed, is a good way to decorate with antiques.
Another way to incorporate antiques is to use them as accents, such as grouping candlesticks of various sizes, shapes and materials. Or stacking old books on a side table and placing a small lamp on top for height. A stack of old leather suitcases can become a vintage end table.